Class lessons can’t always be used right from the web, but they can offer teachers a great place to begin their planning, and can help you to shape your own ideas. There are probably hundreds of websites on the internet that can provide teachers with lesson plans and other materials for teaching. Quality does vary, and teachers, like students, should always consider the source of what is offered when deciding whether or not materials are useful. Museum, library and government-sponsored sites often offer teachers quality materials including innovative approaches, primary documents and complete lesson plans. So do some newspapers. A few places to start:
Across the Curriculum
The UFT Teacher Center is perhaps the best resource on the web for teacher lesson plans. It has done an excellent job of combing through websites to find the best of the best. Just check out the Professional Resources. You will find web resources categorized by subject area and student needs (such as English Language Learners). But more than just links, the Teacher Center provides you with a short summary of what you’ll find once you click. It’s a world of lesson plans in one easy place. Happy hunting! Also, be sure to check out the online articles on mathematics, collaborative team teaching, English Language Learners and more from UFT Teacher Center publications.
Thinkfinity.org is the cornerstone of Verizon Foundation’s literacy, education and technology initiatives. This free, comprehensive digital-learning platform — built upon the merger of two programs, Verizon’s Marco Polo and the Thinkfinity Literacy Network — makes it easy for educators to enhance classroom instruction. There are lesson plans, interactive activities and other online resources. The 55,000 standards-based K-12 lesson plans, student materials, interactive tools and reference materials are endorsed by the nation’s leading education organizations to ensure that content is accurate, up-to-date, unbiased and appropriate for students.
Thinkfinityny.org, the New York State version of Thinkfinity.org, has a wealth of teacher-designed lesson plans and units that are specifically aligned to the New York State standards. Click on the “Aligned Resources” tabs in the left navigation to explore standards-based ideas for teaching the arts, ELA, math, science and social studies to students in pre-K through grade 12.
The New York Times Learning Network provides lessons “across the curriculum based on New York Times content,” and since the paper publishes “everything that’s fit to print,” its lesson plans truly do span quite an array of topics. The Times includes everything from science experiments on the factors that affect the rise of helium balloons to history lessons devoted to the Holocaust and America’s role in the world. Perhaps best of all, the Times invites students to offer their opinion on current events and to participate in a variety of student challenges, including one on summer reading. The Times does not resort to gimmicks and games; it respects students, and engages them. Worth a look.
Internet4Classrooms is a Web portal free to any educator who wants to find high-quality, free Internet resources to use in classroom instruction. The portal contains content-specific resources, technology-based assessment assistance, online practice modules for software use and a “daily dose of the Web.”
Teachers Network has a bank of lesson plans that have been designed by teachers, for teachers. The lesson plans can be searched by subject field or grade level to discover a wealth of curriculum materials that teachers can use.
The Library of Congress is the place to go for primary sources including pictures, documents, and even music. The Library is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, and according to its website includes “millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.” The Library provides the materials in ready-to use formats grouped around themes, on the Great Depression, baseball, the natural environment – and pretty much everything in between. English teachers might like the lesson plans on great works of literature that complement the literary experience with historical documents in order to give the work context and deepen its meaning. A good example of this is the documents provided for To Kill A Mockingbird, but there are many others.
I-civics offers lessons, educational games and web casts designed to teach students about the branches of government, the constitution, and the bill of rights. The site is student friendly, very colorful, and teacher friendly too. It’s a great way to get your students interested in the fundamentals of democracy and to explore and debate social issues. Students will have opportunities to argue some of the hardest cases ever decided in the Supreme Court and lessons include handouts, group activities and step-by-step guides for teachers.
Best of History Web Sites is an award-winning portal that contains annotated links to over 1000 history websites and to hundreds of K-12 history lesson plans, history guides for teachers and history-based activities, games, quizzes and more.
English Language Arts
ReadWriteThink, a partnership of the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English and the Verizon Foundation, offers a Web Resources Gallery. To select links to outstanding reading and language arts resources on the web, they use a rigorous set of selection criteria they have developed and adopted, along with a review process. This process ensures high-quality resources that meet the educational needs of teachers and students.
Illuminations is a website of The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, designed to provide standards-based resources that improve teaching and learning of mathematics for all students. The site also offers free and downloadable materials that illuminate the vision for school mathematics.
Science NetLinks, a consortium partner of Thinkfinity.org, provides a wealth of standards-based resources for K-12 science educators, including lesson plans, interactives and reviewed internet resources. Science NetLinks is a dynamic site with new content added on a regular basis.
The U.S. Geological Survey provides scientific information intended to help educate the public about natural resources, natural hazards, geospatial data and issues that affect our quality of life. On this website find selected educational resources that may be useful to educators in K -12 schools. Many of these resources can be used directly in the classroom or will be useful in classroom lessons, for preparation of demonstration activities or as resources for teacher education and curriculum development. The site provides educational resources for both primary and secondary school grades.
Students with Disabilities
TeacherVision Special Needs Teacher Resources is a teacher website for trusted online tools and resources. Partnered with many educational associations, TeacherVision® strives to be a trusted source that has created a supportive, helpful network of people dedicated to children’s learning in school and in life.